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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Kim Jong-un - the mystery man set to rule North Korea

RIA Novosti

11:11 23/11/2010

MOSCOW, November 23 (RIA Novosti) - Kim Jong-un, son of and heir-apparent to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, is one of the world's least well known national political figures. Even his exact date of birth is not known for sure, with North Korea first saying 1983, then 1982.

He attended a private school in Switzerland, under cover as the son of diplomatic driver, and speaks fluent English, French and German according to those who studied with him. Very few photographs of him even existed until he emerged earlier this year as the youngest son and heir apparent to his father Kim Jong-il, whose health is apparently poor.

On September 30, he was shown in a group photograph in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, seated next to a general. He has been given the informal title "Brilliant Comrade" by the North Korean press, which still labels his grandfather Kim Il-sung, founder of the DPRK as "The Great Leader" and his father Kim Jong-il as the "Dear Leader."

Kim Jong-un was himself made a general on 27 September, in apparent preparation for his succession to the leadership of the ruling Korean Workers' Party - despite his having no officially acknowledged military experience.

In October he attended the 65th anniversary celebrations of the Korean Workers' Party, in an apparent confirmation of his future leadership role by senior North Korean officials. He was made a vice-chairman of the party's Central Military Commission at the party celebrations.

Kim Jong-un appeared alongside his father on state TV at the event, probably the first time most of the citizens of his country had ever seen him.

It is expected that he will formally take over as supreme leader at some point after his father's death, possibly after a regency by an interim leadership until he gains experience.

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